Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces Best Practices Survey June 2006

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					Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces
Best Practices Survey / June 2006

                                        Survey Coordination:

                                    Forum One Communications
                                       2200 Mt. Vernon Avenue
                                         Alexandria, VA 22301
Executive Summary

In June 2006, Jim Cashel (Forum One Communications) sent approximately 200
invitations to participate in a research circle involving blogs, wikis and workspaces. We
received 72 completed surveys. Participating organizations ranged from small to very
large, with approximately two thirds representing non-commercial and educational
groups, the balance representing commercial groups.

The survey results contain a great deal of collective experience and advice on blogs,
wikis, and workspaces. We provide full text results -- which admittedly require a bit of
effort to comb through – but the collective wisdom of 72 experienced practitioners is

A few key findings stand out. With respect to blogs:

   •   60% of respondents run blogs, with most organizations running a handful (2-5);
   •   They are predominantly used for external audiences;
   •   Respondents cite a wide variety of reasons for using blogs, most pivoting around
       rapid responsiveness, marketing, and giving the organization a voice;
   •   The principal challenge in running blogs is committing appropriate staff time to
       keep sites current;
   •   A number of platforms are mentioned, with Typepad and Wordpress being
       particularly well regarded;

With respect to wikis:

   •   27% of respondents run wikis, with most organizations running only 1;
   •   Wikis are used predominantly for internal consumption;
   •   Socialtext is most frequently mentioned as the platform of choice.

With respect to workspaces:

   •   52% of respondents run workspaces, with most running multiple instances (and
       12% running more than 25 instances);
   •   Workspaces are used for both internal and private (extranet) consumption;
   •   Basecamp and ProjectSpaces are platforms mentioned in favorable terms.

With respect to all three technologies – blogs, wikis, and workspaces – respondents
offered useful advice for groups launching these technologies (on pages 11, 17 and 23

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                  2                                             6/06
We’d like to thank respondents for their participation. We find compilations like this
extremely useful and hope you do to. We plan to do several more this year. Feel free to
contact me with suggested topics.

We sponsor periodic meetings to discuss these topics. Stay abreast of our schedule at
the Online Community Report site .

Best regards,

Jim Cashel

About Forum One Communications

Forum One Communications <> is a web strategy and
communications firm which assists organizations in using new technologies to enhance
communications and collaboration. Services include communications strategy;
information architecture; user interface issues; graphics design, web development and
programming; audience analysis; web marketing; and web metrics work. For further
information see our website or drop Jim Cashel a note .

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                3                                        6/06
Full Survey Results

             Questions 1-4:
             Name, Organization, E-mail Address

                              [responses suppressed]

Blog Information

             Question 5:
             Does your organization run any blogs?
                           Yes                   60%
                           No                    40%

             Question 6:
             How many blogs does your organization run?
                          1                     24%
                          2-5                   58%
                          6-10                  12%
                          > 10                   6%

             Question 7:
             Does your organization provide blogs for (check all that
                     Internal (staff) consumption       24%
                     Private external consumption       15%
                     Public consumption                 97%

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces              4                              6/06
Question 8:
What are the principal advantages to your organization for running blogs?
1) Provide a single source for notifying the public about everything going on with the
organization. 2) Gain the network effect by linking to other blogs, and having them
link to us.
1) Ability to comment quickly and at low cost on current news topics related to our
areas of activity 2) Increased visibility for our staff among expert audiences 3) Improved
visibility in search engine results due to frequent updates and increased in and out
1) Provide quick updates on news items to the public 2) Give members of our audience
a voice
1. Keep our thinking 'open'. 2. Easy content publishing for non-technical staff. 3.
Keeping notes and live connection to members.
A public presence. In a world where the new advertising is content it seems to me a
blog is a 21st Century business card. It is essential to participate in conversations on
topics in which we claim expertise.
A quick way to get information/news out to people as it becomes available, and
interaction with our readership
Ability to communicate fast and efficiently across all offices nation wide. Ability to also
take materials generated internally and posting them externally without a lot of time
Additional ways to facilitate communication. News coming from a variety of voices.
Apart from our company running a 'blogging site', we engage with our users online. XX
is very open about our business practices, upcoming technology, and understanding
our customer's needs. We participate in discussions on with our members on how to
make XX a better place. Our CEO does live chats with our members. Many of our
employees post articles, respond to user comments and run and participate in groups
on XX.
Attracts more readers. Allows us to engage and retain customers without writing long
Blogs can be a cost- and time-effective way to allow frequent updates to a site. RSS
feeds (not strictly a blog feature, but...) allow content from one site to be used in
different ways on other sites.
Community content, information gathering and feedback loops, major development
announcements and information sharing with the general public and press.
Ease of information exchange
Easy knowledge sharing, invitation to think together with readers/commenters, good

Easy to update and post articles, get comments

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                    5                                           6/06
Easy way to try to build new audiences, fundraising, brand awareness
Gets out opinions and analyses in easy-to-write, easy-to-read format
Giving prospective clients the ability to understand how we think. Also, to keep the site
'live' and announce news.
I run blogs for other companies. They use the space to promote their expertise and/or
share information with constituents on a given topic. We have found that blogs do
well with search engines and can be a great 'unbiased' promotional tool.
I think blogs are collectively viewed as a complement to more traditional academic
research. Blogs allow researchers to keep up with current events, reaching out to non-
academics, and synthesizing information. Blogs also allow researchers to link to
relevant online academic research to provide further, more in-depth context for readers.
Blogs can open new readership markets and think tank constituencies.

Inexpensive, effective way of publishing up to date content and encouraging
participation within our online community
Information sharing
Interact with our subscribers on a more personalized level.

It's a good way to organize material
Marketing. raising awareness.
Quick reaction to news as it relates to our organization. Assisting in establishing XXX
as a thought leader on specific topics. Lastly, expanding the debate in the International
Development community.
Telling our story. connecting with our community. highlighting news and content, linked
to our database. i think our use of blogs and structured data may be fairly unique.
They provide a more spontaneous way for people to contribute content, and a means
for reader feedback.
Thought leadership, marketing, staff participation.
To provide additional material to our readers and drive traffic to our Web site.
We reach the media

Question 9:
What are the principal costs / problems to your organization for running blogs?
Costs were just getting it set up. The only problem is finding time to consistently post.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                   6                                             6/06
COSTS: - Training new blogger candidates - Staff time (we need bloggers + editors to
review posts) - Other lost opportunities (will blog returns really justify the costs?)
PROBLEMS: - Learning the 'voice,' the techniques for wide distribution, and the
conversational habit (vs the publishing habit). - Identifying good blogger candidates
(the new medium makes new stars, and not all stars of other media make the cut in the
new). - Integration with other media.
Finding time to post and maximize the blog's potential.
Getting the software installed. Tried the Unix version first but then installed on Windows
and it was much easier.
Initial set up costs (fairly minor for us); ongoing training and coaching of staff. No major
It often becomes a challenge to integrate the blog into the rest of the web site.    If
they're not updated frequently blogs quickly look abandoned.
It's linked into a larger development budget; we've spent about $50k so far.
It's tricky to provide access for multiple people to 'run' the blogs ...
Keeping a single voice among multiple contributors.
Keeping them current
Keeping up interesting content without being a major time burden
Lack of time on the part of staff
Limiting bad news; controversy
Minimal costs; license for movable type; minor development costs.          Problems: Finding
suitable compelling writers who understand the world of blogging.
Principal cost is labor. Principal problem is engaging other members of the organization
(outside of the blog manager and one or two others) to post.
Since we are essentially a blogging company, our costs wouldn't be an apples to apples
comparison to other organizations taking this survey. As far as problems, opening
yourself up to the community does have its challenges. If we miss a key date, the site
goes down, or our functionality doesn't work the way our members want it to, then we
definitely hear about it. We want to communicate with our members and meet their
needs but sometimes we make business decisions (e.g., recruiting commercial
organizations like to put content on our site) that aren't popular with our
members and have to walk the line between defending ourselves and telling our users
its really none of their business. Having a blog opens you up to pubic criticism for all
the world to see. No longer are custom complaints a private two-way conversation
between the customer and a customer support rep.
Some concern about the format of blogs (i.e.: is it the best way for people to interact?
Because it often comes across as more of a publication (one to many) than a
discussion (many to many)) hardly any cost issues, although we are looking at ways
to integrate blogs that people have already written into a central platform and still
enable commenting (rather than just RSS aggregation)

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                     7                                         6/06
Spam was a major burden that we may have recently fixed, but I'm sure it keeps people
away sometimes as well.
Staff time
Staff time and maintenance. Encouraging a wide range of staff to submit postings.

Staff time to keep it updated. It's difficult to attract outside writers to post content unless
we pay them.
Staff time to research trends, interview experts, etc. Also staff time to run the blog.
Staff time.
Staff time. Finding the time to feed information to a blog has been challenging. Even
so, we would like to look at starting more blogs.
The current website is not suited well for interactive media. The offline / traditional
mindset of older researchers and administrators seem to be reluctant to embracing new
technologies. Sometimes blogs are viewed as cheapening scholarship. To the
contrary, I see blogs and other web social applications as opportunities to democratize
scholarship, providing more 'friendly' outlets for disseminating research findings. I think
the web's social applications (blogs, social networks, tagging/folksonomy) can create
market dynamics to research fields, and democratize academia.. hope that makes
The disparity in writing skills from staff to staff, assuring that we are preserving our
image and message, measuring impact within our community.
The only problem we have faced so far is allowing comments on our corporate blog -
spamming is the key issue.
Time to maintain.
Time, content approval, executive understanding
We have a very detailed and demanding editing, vetting and fact-checking process for
'normal' print and web content. As blogging requires more 'immediacy', this puts a strain
on our internal processes to ensure the message is of a consistent high level of quality.

Questions 10 - 13:
Blog platforms, strengths, weaknesses, and recommend to others?
Platform         Strengths                         Weaknesses                    Recommend?      Very easy for everyone -          Not necessarily seamless to Yes
                 can provide a separation          end users when we don't
                 between organization and          want to separate ourselves
                 blog if we use the                from our blog

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                    8                                            6/06
Platform      Strengths                        Weaknesses                     Recommend?   Easy to set up the basics,       No categories, customizing Yes
              accessible from anywhere.        becomes a steep learning
                                               curve, lately lots of down
                                               time.   It's free and easy to get        Not integrated w/our           Maybe
              started                          systems   By using blogger we              Seems a little disconnected, Maybe
              eliminate the need to            not always great to rely on
              provide IT support for           third party solutions that can
              bloggers, it's extremely         be subject to change
              simple, and if a person has
              a blog already there's no
              need change anything.
Custom        The fact that users don't        We still don't have all the    Yes
              have the stress of having        bells and whistles of some
              their own isolated blog that     blogs but we are continuing
              they have to publish to          to launch new functionality.
              every day. A blogging            I'm looking forward to RSS
              community is better for          feeds and the ability to
              people who want to engage        include video.
              with a variety of people on a
              variety of topics. Plus, the
              community helps determine
              the best content. It's tough
              for individuals who have
              their own blogs to get
              noticed and attract and
              maintain an audience. For
              the reader, it is tough to
              know how reputable a
              blogger is and difficult to
              find the best content.
Custom        It is quite simple.         It is quite simple, without a No
                                          lot of the customization
                                          features found in standard
                                          blogging tools.
Custom        Very extensible. Integrated Doesn't take advantage of     No
              with the rest of website    improvements in the wild.
              (important for linking,     All improvements (e.g.
              metadata, etc.)             comments, technorati
                                          pinging) have to be coded in.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                9                                          6/06
Platform       Strengths                     Weaknesses                        Recommend?
Drupal         Wordpress and typepad are                                       Yes
               the favorites in our office.
               Wordpress is know to be
               clunky and not quite there.
               With Typepad concerns are
               around it going down and
               not functioning properly.
Drupal         Nice to have it integrated      Pretty basic functionality.     Maybe
               with the rest of your web
Movable Type   It's relatively easy to use                                     Yes
Movable Type   Easy to use ...                 It's tricky to provide access   Yes
                                               for multiple people to 'run'
                                               the blogs ...
Movable Type   Allows for customization of It's cumbersome; often              No
               look/feel.                      requires a developer to
                                               make changes.
Movable Type   Being able to run multiple      Almost everything               No
               blogs from one login
Movable Type   Easy to use                                                     Maybe
Movable Type   Customizable, easy to           Formerly too much spam          Maybe
               integrate with our CMS.
Movable Type   It's still very new to us and I Unsure if we've configured      Maybe
               don't have much to              the tagging feature correctly
               compare it with. One            and need to check out the
               feature I like is being able to notification feature too.
               save drafts and scheduling
Movable Type   Convenient interface for        A bit daunting in appearance    Maybe
               interacting with all three      and use for non-HTML savvy
               blogs.                          staff.
Prospero       Relatively easy to set up       Don't know.                     Maybe
Technologies   and use.
Scoop          Many features, including        It's lack of integration with   Yes
               personal diaries and reader our main website, including
               ranking of comments, that integrated search.
               we haven't yet built out.
Serendipity    Ease of use, open source, Doesn't manage multiple               Yes
               flexible                        accounts as efficiently as
                                               other platforms.
Serendipity    Ease of deployment Cost Hard to customize Hard to               Maybe
                                               integrate into a dynamic site
                                               Too many features Poor
                                               protection out of the box
                                               against comment spam

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                10                                          6/06
Platform        Strengths                     Weaknesses                        Recommend?
Typepad         Easy                           Getting at old content           Yes
                                               ..organizing old content
Typepad         It's very easy to use.         There is a bit of a time delay   Yes
                                               between when we complete
                                               the post and when it is
                                               actually posted on the
Typepad         Very easy to use               n/a                              Yes
Typepad         Easy to use and new            Typelists are limited. You       Yes
                functionality and tools are    can add a link but copy
                being added. Best addition limited to a rollover.
                since I started using is draft
Typepad         Ease of use                    Would like even more             Maybe
                                               flexible features
Wordpress       It's open source. It evolves. Some features don’t seem to       Yes
                                               be keeping up with
                                               commercial software
Wordpress       It works and fits into the     No spell checker.                Yes
                look and feel of our
                company site (after the
                designer worked at it, of
Wordpress       Cheap, easy to use, good They could have an easier              Yes
                comment spam filter            way to markup text in colors,
                                               embed photos, format
                                               paragraphs, text.

Question 14:
Your colleague is considering launching a blog in his organization. What advice would
you offer?
1. Define your content area and objectives before starting. 2. Understand your
organization's policy and expectations of bloggers. 3. If you can't commit an hour a day
to your blog, both posting and keeping watch on related blogs and conversations, think
carefully before starting. Blogging well is time consuming.
1. Know why you are doing it (there are lots of good reasons and some bad ones) 2.
Allocate some regular time to it 3. Practice writing with an authentic voice 4. Read
other blogs 5. You get what you give: Link to others

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                 11                                          6/06
Assign the job of maintaining it to one person (even if their job is to delegate) and/or
hire someone to maintain it.
Be clear about the purpose and audience; have a plan for sustaining frequent postings;
read blogs in your chosen topic area first; practice writing snappy headlines and using
link/quote/comment format.
Be sure that you have enough resources to keep it going
Be willing to commit the time and resources needed to make it successful. Develop
both a content and promotion plan for your blog and make sure you are willing to spend
time to engage in the conversation. If you are moderating comments do it persistently
so you don't stifle or slow down the conversation. Use negative comments as an
opportunity to get your message out there and listen to what your customers have to
Budget enough time - a good blog that develops a regular readership will takes several
hours a day. * Develop a policy that sets boundaries and lets people know what it's ok
to post.
Consider how you're going to market it and how easily it can be found by visitors to the
organization's website.
Consider using technology that allows you to grow into features you might not think you
want/need now, and be sure that you have an HR plan for creating content.
Define the overarching theme for any blogs that come from within an organization,
include length per word and appropriate content expectations, as well as any style,
graphic or presentation considerations.       While it is important to define the
boundaries, it helps to take also identify the areas where individuals have more creative
freedom. Establish an editorial chain of command, where key staff have an
opportunity to verify and approve content before it goes live. Try to analyze pending
blog entries for weak language or information that can be misconstrued or unclear to
the reader. Be prepared to address user reactions to the information posted in your
blog, and provide a space for that specific purpose and monitor and respond to it with
regularity- if only to say 'That's a good point, I'll look into your concern.'
Do it. think of it as open notes. less formal and more personal.
Don't say anything you would be ashamed of seeing in the New York Times the next
morning. (Unless, of course, you're Anne Coulter)
Don't start a blog so that you can have a blog. Start a blog because you have an
audience that's interested in frequent, short(-ish) dispatches from your organization.
That said, just try it -- starting a blog is too easy to make a big deal of it.
Go for it. But make it worthwhile. Focus on a topic that you are passionate about and
would hold forth on in any case. That inspires you to keep it up to date. Don't blog for
blogging's sake. You'll stop after a month like nearly everyone else.
Keep it fresh. Keep it informal. Provide links to outside resources.

Know who your target audience is. know what larger messages you will convey. know
you can keep it up in a timely way.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                  12                                            6/06
Know your audience. Know what you want to convey. Know that it's not a personal blog
and you need to be careful to balance your expressive needs and wants with what's
best for you and the organization.
Make sure there is a plan for getting sufficient interesting content

Make sure you have something to say! Develop a strong voice. Participate in the
community by commenting on others' blogs. Update frequently.
Make sure you have wiggle room and your boss protecting you!
Make sure you're committed to keeping it current.

May need to experiment to find the right purpose -- scope & audience.
Plan for daily management and run an internal seminar on the what, how, and why of
blogging. Also, make sure to put the SPAM filters on.
Seek out a web strategy firm that can maximize the usability and readability for the
blog. Conduct an audience analysis for the blog's target group... maybe after the
initial months of outreach and blogging? Understand what the audience's interests are
and see how well those interests match up with the blog's motivations and goals.
Sitting down with a group of people and asking some important questions: What
audience is the blog targeting? Who will feed information to the blog? How often will it
be updated? What potential ethical or logistic problems will the blog create?
Start by identifying and participating in other leading blogs in your topic area. - Don't
start your own until you've got the big picture in your area and have defined a starter-
niche, a point of view. - Identify bloggers + backups + support staff. -
Think most about the blogger, trying to identify someone excited by the topic,
knowledgeable, comfortable with the web, and who can write well.
Think through exactly what you want out of it.
To create an editorial calendar of topics to blog about when inspiration does not strike
and to make sure this coordinates with the marketing teams efforts.
Try a free solution first and make sure you can actually keep the content up to date,
there's far too many dead blogs out there.
Understand the benefits and risks. have an open mind.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                  13                                             6/06
Wiki Information

                Question 15:
                Does your organization run any wikis?
                              Yes                   27%
                              No                    73%

                Question 16:
                How many wikis does your organization run?
                              1                    60%
                              2-5                  33%
                              >5                    7%

                Question 17:
                Does your organization provide wikis for (check all that
                        Internal (staff) consumption       87%
                        Private external consumption       33%
                        Public consumption                 27%

Question 18:
For what purposes does your organization run wikis?
For organizing and documenting our work. For storing and sharing files.
Collaboration of people that attended an event. Wiki for staff support and development
team.    We are considering opening one for our members to share information with
each other.
Collaboration, resource documentation, co-editing
Conferences, internal directories, feedback on development projects.
Internal collaboration
It is a place to post HR information, press releases, all information regarding our
product planning and releases.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                  14                                       6/06
Organizing conferences
Project management, research projects. will use them as adjunct to db and blogs.
Searching for a platform for that.
Share information with others. Work collaboratively. Keep information, tools,
publications in a format that is easy to search and retrieve.
Sharing content.
To track bugs and feature requests in new applications.
Tracking internal processes, new hires, policy changes, staff resources.
We tried to use one to support a learning group
We’re trying to use wikis more (rather than emailing word documents back and forth)
for things where staff members collaborate (i.e.: board docs, proposals etc.)

Questions 19 - 22:
Wiki platforms, strengths, weaknesses, and recommend to others?
Platform        Strengths                      Weaknesses                    Recommend?

Confluence      Flexible, easy to use, easy                                  Yes
                to configure

Daisy           It is a great place to keep   I don't use it enough to have Yes
                company information. I        any dislikes
                haven't published to it. I
                just use it to retrieve
                information. I also like that
                it has a table of contents
                (left nav bar). One problem
                I've always had with
                SocialText is being able to
                see everything that is in
Mediawiki       Cost                                                        Yes

Mediawiki       Pretty easy                    Getting information off the   Maybe
                                               wiki into formal documents.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                   15                                      6/06
Platform         Strengths                        Weaknesses                      Recommend?

Not Sure         Very easy to enter               Not as clear on easy ways to Maybe
                 information.                     sort entered information.

SeedWiki         nothing                          Never could get 'normal'     No
                                                  people to figure out how to
                                                  make it work .. not reliable
Socialtext       Easy to use                      Formatting is a challenge       Yes

Socialtext       Haven't used others, so      This may be true of all wikis:      Yes
                 can't compare. Seems         * It's hard to create a flexible,
                 easy to invite users,        enduring structure from the
                 relatively straightforward toget-go, and it's hard (on
                 use.                         users) to change the
                                              structure once you've started
                                              using the wiki. * Users say
                                              it's ugly.
Socialtext       Socialtext is powerful, open Appearance on all of them is        Yes
                 source platforms seems to bad (and intimidating to
                 work fine.                   many). wysiwyg editors are
                                              still not great.
Socialtext       Simple. Cheap.               Intimidating for non-technical      Maybe
Socialtext       The people                   It does not seem to be              Maybe
                                              keeping up in developing
                                              new features.
Socialtext       Basic and industry known. Finding what's been posted
                                              especially files that have
                                              been uploaded. Perhaps
                                              my inexperience but while a
                                              wiki exists for collaboration it
                                              doesn't seem easy to
                                              establish a sense of
                                              community within the wiki,
                                              certainly compared to
                                              facilitating a message board
                                              that is my benchmark.
Varies -         Most of them are pretty      Some have good email                Yes
wikicities,      easy to use                  notifications and tools to
pbwiki, writely,                              prevent overwriting by two
writeboard,                                   people at the same time. I
socialtext,                                   don't like it when these
media wiki                                    features are missing

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                      16                                       6/06
Platform          Strengths                       Weaknesses                     Recommend?

Writely           Simple, free, effective         Nothing (well .... except that Yes
                                                  they were bought by google
                                                  so now new members can't
                                                  sign up... lol) ;)

Question 23:
What advice would you offer to a colleague launching a wiki within his organization?
1. Know why you are using it 2. Start small and simple 3. Work with your team on
process 4. Think iterations
As for blogs. Be clear on objectives and positioning. Ensure time for managing to
accomplish wiki goals.
Define purpose of wiki up front -- and clear objectives for its use. Train staff to use it
and check in with them regularly to see if they need help. Share wiki usage statistics.
Develop an organizational scheme -- wikis can quickly become unruly.
Don't expect people to use wiki' just because they're there, it might take some heavy
Encourage a culture of contribution and ownership, top to bottom.
Good for use with tech-savvy groups that already know each other.
Look at all the alternatives: pbwiki, social text, etc.
Look at newer platforms.
Not ready for prime time
Provide a few guidelines for folks that you expect to post to the wiki. Designate one
person to track and complete tasks (if being used for software development).
Provide some training to users in your organization and involve all departments in using
the wiki. It works well for us because whenever you ask a question, you usually hear,
'It's on the wiki'. After any meeting people say, 'I'll post the presentation on the wiki.' So
it has been reinforced that this is the place to go for company information.
Spend enough time planning out how you will use it and organize it.
Take your time and slowly let it develop - don't expect immediate returns - people need
to get used to collaborating on the web.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                    17                                            6/06
Workspace Information

                Question 24:
                Does your organization run any workspaces?
                              Yes                   52%
                              No                    48%

                Question 25:
                How many workspaces does your organization run?
                             1                   25%
                             2-10                42%
                             11-25               21%
                             > 25                12%

                Question 26:
                Does your organization provide wikis for (check all that
                        Internal (staff) consumption       89%
                        Private external consumption       74%
                        Public consumption                 11%

Question 27:
For what purposes does your organization run workspaces?
Coordination with remote staff.
Document sharing
Document sharing/versioning, notifications, reference
External working groups; have been unable to get staff to use them for internal project
management and publications
In order to unite disparate working group members and tracking task progress.
Intranet teams spaces with and for clients educational activities
Long-term projects involving multi-organizations spread out nationally.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                 18                                        6/06
Lotus Notes for all corporate e-mail; various projects also use collaboration software for
development of reports and other documents
Mostly for internal file sharing. One external workspace for a project.
Multi-stakeholder projects involving 2 or more discrete companies/organizations.
Our Director of Research has created a workspace for people working on stateless
issues to share documents and information.
Post-event discussions, maintaining ties.
Private committee collaborations, internal working groups

Project coordination Communities of Practice Learning Play

Project delivery of client engagements; some internal collaboration on capability
Project management

Project management

Project management and communications

Project management tracking and collaboration; file management and sharing (in
Project management, of our software/site development.

Remote office file sharing and project management

Share docs and task lists.

Sharing documents, information

To organize decentralized staff/consultants

To share news, information and announcements about organizational events such as
workgroup meetings or celebrations.
We have a group on XX to communicate directly with our users on how to make XX a
better place. I run a group for group owners where we share best practices and tips for
running your own group on XX. Both of those groups are open to anybody who wants
to join. We also have a private company group where we discuss company issues and
product-related issues. A lot of times, we will cross-publish content to all of these
groups. We also run some user-groups on XX for broad topic areas like movies or
music. Our goal here is to build a group and work with movie or music partner
companies to provide and promote their content.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                   19                                        6/06
Working group coordination, sharing files.

Questions 28 - 31:
Workspace platforms, strengths, weaknesses, and recommend to others?
Platform         Strengths                        Weaknesses                   Recommend?

Basecamp         Alerts work fine. it's easy to Difficult to embed images,     Yes
                 find things.

Basecamp         Ability to share, post files,    Doesn't allow file folders Yes
                 keep communications              (each file has to be
                 about a particular project in    uploaded and stored
                 one place                        discretely)
Basecamp         Creates a project history        Some people won't use any Yes
                 and location for all             tool you give them.
                 communications and
Basecamp         Basecamp is nice.                The way it doesn't integrate Yes
                                                  with our shared drive or
                                                  calendar in the office

Basecamp.        It is very intuitive. It also    Can't think of any negatives. Yes
                 easily provides ways to
                 save previous versions of
Basecamp.        Easy to use. Very good           Front end can be flaky.     Yes
FilesAnywhere.   permissions subsystem.           Bandwidth/capacity on their
                                                  side seems to be a problem
Caucus (Group - Very flexible - can                                            Yes
Jazz             include other 3rd party
implementations) products in an integrated
                 way - very easy for users,
                 get up and going right
                 away - can manage large
                 numbers of spaces at once

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                      20                                   6/06
Platform         Strengths                        Weaknesses                    Recommend?

Custom           Our group functionality          We are currently in version Yes
                 allows organizations to set      1.0 of our groups product.
                 up their own branded             As product manager for
                 space on XX. Groups can          groups, I have a lot of
                 be open or closed,               functionality in the pipeline
                 moderated or                     that I would like to see
                 unmoderated. I like that         released (e.g., RSS feeds).
                 we use a blog format (as         Our groups product will
                 opposed to a message             continue to get better as we
                 board format) and that all       roll out new features
                 content (articles, images)       throughout the year.
                 and groups are tagged. A
                 cool feature is the ability to
                 cross-publish content so
                 that multiple groups can
                 benefit from the same
                 article and people can find
                 the content and join in the
                 conversation in a lot of
                 different ways.
Plumtree         too new to tell                  too new to tell               Maybe

ProjectSpaces    Ease of use, accountability All products don't integrated Yes
                 is confers on a project.    closely with intranets.

ProjectSpaces    Ease of use adaptability         I find the calendar function a Yes
                 knowledge management             bit tedious.

ProjectSpaces    Simple interface, easy to        No RSS, log in address.       Yes
                 navigate, short learning

SharePoint       Ease of use                      Slow, inflexible, heavy       Maybe

Sharepoint is    Don't know - haven't used        No master plan for            Maybe
used by a few    it myself                        familiarizing people with the
people here, I'm                                  available software

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                   21                                        6/06
Platform         Strengths                    Weaknesses                    Recommend?

Sharepoint.      Easy to customize some of    Not easy for regular site       Maybe
                 the major features--like     users to customize some of
                 document libraries.          the site structures. This is
                 Versioning and check-out     reserved to the site admin,
                 control.                     which often is not the project
                                              manager for the particular
                                              use of the workspace.
SharePoint;       Very little                 Very much behind the times. No
some eRoom                                    Currently no internal
use.                                          standard across the
                                              segments created by
                                              country to country or other
                                              regional differences in our
                                              Firm. No ability to
                                              collaborate in development
                                              of material (example: desire
                                              to create a research
                                              publication - must create this
                                              via email or eRoom - no real
                                              time collaborative
                                              mechanism to view and edit)
We've tried       Generally they are good for Often clunky to use - very      No
several but       archiving materials -       often we resort to email
found none that especially good when used because board members
work well -       to organize for an annual won't use other tools was event.
the one we've
liked best.
Yahoo groups      Convenient way of sharing Nothing but would like to         Maybe
                  documents, information,     switch to google groups
                  pictures, chatting, etc     because it's more user
Yahoo groups      Free                        I find Yahoo to be difficult to Maybe
                                              use, but our users don’t

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                22                                         6/06
Question 23:
What advice would you offer to a colleague launching a workspace within his
Ask people what they want and need - and see if there are existing products that
people are using that may be able to do some or all of what needs to be done.
Creating something from scratch probably isn't the easiest route to go - but it was a
good fit for our organization given some of our specific needs and technological
Be sure that you understand that it requires a lot of design and management ...
Build in house
Cost points are now so low that aggressive use of workspaces should be a no-brainer.
Ensure that it is as simple as possible and user friendly. I DO NOT like lotus notes.
For people to participate, it has to provide business value or be compelling in some
way. Participation needs to start at the top of the organization. Managers need to lead
by example. Business processes/culture may need to change so that the workspace
becomes the place for particular content and interactions and it becomes engrained
that this is where to go to put or view that information. Incentives might also be aligned
with knowledge sharing and the workspace is the place where that happens.
Get a few of the staff to 'drink the koolaid' it takes everything public for it to work.
Get a few ringers to get it going
Get feedback from all potential users on what features they need; then use an app that
delivers on those needs and doesn't leave a ton of unused functionalities in place.
More generally, just make sure that the workspace tool is really needed before asking
IT to spend time in development.
I'd use it. i'd make someone in charge of different parts of the process, someone who
can tone down the debate.
Make sure everyone involved is committed to maintaining fresh, new content and that
you have a plan in place to involve others and to keep it going.
Make sure it fills a need that will support work and workflow; beta test for usability with
a small group of regular users (not techies or power users); include management in
beta testing; have a fun roll-out event to launch the new software; provide lots of
encouragement and feedback
Make sure there is really adequate demand and sufficient returns to justify investing in
changing behavior. E-mail for all it's shortcomings may be the easiest solution for many
Needs to be part of organizational change; needs to be a shared commitment to using
the new technology!

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                    23                                          6/06
Once again, I believe selecting a specific point person/manager is a key to success
because inevitably there will be questions and some resistance from members. This
person should be ready to answer all questions and assist with log-in.
Provide some minimal guidelines for folks that you expect will use the workspace.
Simple formats for naming files and rules for what type of info should be shared can
make the space productive for all. Little to no structure could cause chaos and could
defeat the purpose of the workspace.
Solve a real problem, rather than create (yet another) collaboration zone.
Start with a small project and test first
Test it out first and start small; make sure that the people assigned to use it will actively
Use projectspaces for a year, then modify as appropriate.

Blogs, Wikis and Workspaces                   24                                           6/06